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Commuting to and from work during rush hour can be a bit of an expensive chore, but it doesn’t have to be. Find a car that’s right for your needs, fun to drive, and with excellent fuel economy, and you could turn your morning and evening commutes into a far more enjoyable and cost-effective experience. 

BUYING A USED CAR FOR COMMUTING 

Typically, most mileage accrued by drivers is from driving to and from work. So if you plan to use your car for commuting, it makes sense to consider a vehicle with high miles per gallon (MPG) and low running costs. That way you can drive further for cheaper, saving money in the long run. There are other points to consider too. You’ll likely want a car that is: 

  • Comfortable 
  • Agile and nimble 
  • The right size for the journey 
  • A good performer  
  • Fun to drive 
  • Packed with technology and driver assist systems 

It’s worth taking time to consider your driving needs as well, to find out what type of car will suit your commute best, whether a diesel, petrol, hybrid, or electric. Remember: 

  • Electric cars have very low running costs, excellent for city driving, but for longer journeys you have to take the battery range into consideration 
  • Diesel cars are typically more fuel efficient than petrol vehicles 
  • Petrol cars are usually the cheapest in terms of upfront cost 
  • Hybridsit comfortably in the middle, providing the best of both worlds  

TOP 10 BEST ECONOMICAL CARS FOR COMMUTERS 

Great for long distance motorway journeys and ideal for driving across the city in the morning rush, the best commuter cars juggle high stop-start traffic with good performance. They have agile handling for navigating city streets and they have comfortable interiors. Of course, to be economical, they have to offer low running costs and have a high miles per gallon ratio. Naturally, the top 10 best economical cars for commuters tick these boxes. Read on for more information. 

1. TOYOTA PRIUS

The world’s first mass produced plug-in hybrid, the Toyota Prius is an all-round great car for commuters.

It has excellent economy and very high levels of reliability. Plus, it is a competent performer, proving perfectly nimble for city driving and very comfortable for long motorway journeys, aided by the very low level of interior noise.

The Toyota Prius also comes with a healthy amount of equipment and safety tech as standard. And for added ease whilst commuting, driver assistance technology, like adaptive cruise control, road sign recognition, and lane departure warning with steering control, will make the journey to work a whole lot easier and more enjoyable.  

Best features:

  • Excellent reliability 
  • Excellent economy 
  • Great all-rounder 

PRICES FROM £1,500 

2. VOLKSWAGEN GOLF

Available as a plug-in hybrid, mild-hybrid, petrol, or diesel, the Volkswagen Golf has an excellent selection of efficient engines to choose from.

It has a high-quality and exceedingly comfortable interior for longer commuters and it is a nimble and excellent performer in the city. For those who rarely venture out of town and those wanting even lower running costs, there is also the fully-electric e-Golf to consider too, with a claimed range of 186 miles. 

Furthermore, the Golf comes with a generous selection of standard kit, including rear parking sensors, which are always useful in a big city, and excellent safety tech to make the journey less stressful, from autonomous emergency breaking (AEB), to traffic sign recognition, and lane keeping assistance.  

Best features:

  • Excellent efficiency 
  • Nimble performer 
  • Exceedingly comfortable 

PRICES FROM £400 

3. NISSAN LEAF

If your commute is through a busy city centre or one with heavy stop-start traffic queues, then the all-electric Nissan Leaf presents a cost-effective option to consider.

It is a nimble family car with ultra-low running costs and excellent real-world range (at 200 miles on a full battery). Furthermore, it comes packed with fantastic user-friendly technology as well, such as the ProPilot driver assist tech, which aids in a stress-free journey with lane, hazard, and distance sensing essentially offering a second pair of eyes and a helping hand.

Best of all, as an all-electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf has zero emissions, which is perfect for London commuters as it means you won’t have to pay the congestion charge. 

Best features:

  • Ultra-low running costs 
  • Excellent real-world range 
  • Fantastic user-friendly tech 

PRICES FROM £6,000

4. SKODA OCTAVIA

The Skoda Octavia is outstanding value for money. It looks great, it has a really comfortable and spacious cabin, and it packs plenty of power.

Additionally, it is known for having a great reliability record and a good selection of petrol and diesel engines to choose from, ranging from the economical to the powerful. It is also available as a plug-in hybrid for even greater economy and for those environmentally friendly credentials.

As a long distance commuter car, the Skoda Octavia excels. It’s great in the city too, particularly with useful tech like Park Assist, where the Octavia will select an adequate size parking space and automatically park itself doing the hard work for you. It’s a very useful feature, particularly on a busy street or in that early morning rush.

Best features:

  • Comfortable and spacious 
  • Outstanding value for money 
  • Great reliability 

PRICES FROM £700

5. FORD FIESTA

Known for being reliable and economical, the Ford Fiesta is something of an obvious choice when it comes to a great city car for commuting. And that’s not a bad thing or a surprise.

The Fiesta is a class leader with its superb handling and it has a comfortable cabin and an attractive design. The dimensions of the sub-compact car (and the aforementioned handling) result in a vehicle that’s easy to park in small spaces, particularly handy in a city with limited parking options.

The full driver’s assistance package is a relatively cheap option too and definite value for money, adding adaptive cruise control and pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection for even greater ease whilst driving.

With a wealth of specs and trim options to choose from, it is easy to configure the right Ford Fiesta for your needs. 

Best features:

  • Reliable and economical 
  • Class-leading handling 
  • Wealth of spec and trim options 

PRICES FROM £300 

6. BMW 5 SERIES

If your commute takes you via the motorway regularly, or involves picking up work colleagues on route, then it is well worth considering the BMW 5 Series as it sets the benchmark in its class for ride comfort and refinement.

Inside, BMW’s unrivalled saloon has plenty of room to offer and comfortable seating, as well as a tech-laden cabin. The drive experience is amongst the best for saloons and it offers reasonable running costs too.

If you want really good economy, the plug-in hybrid is a great option. It allows you the opportunity for short car journeys nipping around town on electricity alone.

Overall, the 5 Series is a great car for day to day city commuting and longer journeys too. 

Best features:

  • Ride comfort and refinement 
  • Spacious, tech-laden cabin 
  • Great driving experience 

PRICES FROM £900 

7. VAUXHALL ASTRA

A jack of all trades, the stylish Vauxhall Astra is an ideal car for commuters. It is comfortable and roomy and just as enjoyable to drive in a big city as it is on an open country road or motorway.

It has an excellent range of efficient engines to choose from and offers low running costs too. Overall, the car is great value for money, particularly as it comes with lots of excellent kit as standard, including cruise control for easier motorway journeys.

 Opt for the next trim level up (SRI) and you also gain the Driver Assistance Pack, with useful safety tech like autonomous emergency braking and traffic-sign recognition, which can be particularly handy for morning commutes.

Unsurprisingly, the Vauxhall Astra is one of the best all-round family cars and one of Britain’s most popular hatchbacks. 

Best features:

  • Great value for money 
  • Low running costs 
  • Comfortable and roomy 

PRICES FROM £400 

8. MERCEDES-BENZ C-CLASS

One of the most successful models for Mercedes-Benz, with a ton of variations and different body styles, the C-Class is an all-round great car, offering excellent performance and a level of luxury you’d expect from the prestigious marque.

It stands out against rivals with its superior build quality, polished looks, and sporty driving experience, offering an engaging ride whether on the motorway or heading through town.

Inside, the C-Class has a very comfortable interior too, which is ideal for long to medium commutes. With hybrid versions available, Mercedes have added an additional quality to the already reliable C-Class, namely, very low running costs – perfect for everyday commuting use.  

Best features:

  • Engaging to drive 
  • Comfortable interior 
  • Excellent performance 

PRICES FROM £800

9. PEUGEOT 508

Excellent for long distance commuting, the Peugeot 508 is a large family car with a spacious and comfortable cabin.

It has confident handling, which results in a pleasant driving experience, and good fuel economy, with a great selection of economical diesel engines and as an even greater cost-friendly plug-in hybrid.

Perhaps the most notable quality of the Peugeot 508 is the fact that it excels on the motorway. Exterior noise is kept to a minimum inside the cabin and the well-balanced suspension offers a smooth journey, creating a ride quality that is always enjoyable – perfect for any business person that has to travel up and down the country most days of the week. 

Best features:

  • Excels on the motorway 
  • Confident handling 
  • Enjoyable ride quality 

PRICES FROM £2,600

10. HYUNDAI IONIQ

The Hyundai Ioniq comes with a choice of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fully-electric powertrains, which all offer varying levels of low (to zero) emissions, excellent economy, lower running costs, and cheap car tax.

For city-based drivers, who occasionally use the motorway, the Ioniq is a really great car worthy of consideration. It offers a decent driving experience and a comfortable and refined cabin.

Best of all, it comes with an impressive amount of standard kit, including lane-keeping assistance and autonomous emergency breaking (AEB), which can recognise cyclists and pedestrians – ideal for driving in a busy city.

If your daily commute takes you onto the motorway for a short journey, then you can also choose optional extras like adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring to make the journey safer, more enjoyable, and even easier.  

Best features:

  • Very low running costs 
  • Comfortable and refined 
  • Impressive standard kit 

PRICES FROM £11,000 

Looking for an affordable that’s economical to drive on the daily commute? Check out our huge range of cars available at Motors.co.uk.

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